Sam entered financial planning in what might be seen as a traditional way.
Leaving school and unsure of her career path, but knowing she was keen to help people and good with money, her first job was in Toowoomba, Queensland, at an insurance business where she helped with business and farm valuations.
She then moved from general insurance to risk insurance and the next step was being asked to do the study to become a paraplanner. From there, she head hunted into a role in a comprehensive advice firm. This then led to the AMP Horizons programme where she was the youngest graduate at just 20. Sam was also one of only a few graduates from the programme who came from a financial planning background – there was also a chef, sportspeople and real estate agents.
The course was a success to her business career and her personal life as she met her partner Josh on the course. In November, Sam launched her own planning business in Melbourne – Pursue Wealth.
What did you hope to achieve in financial planning?
From here I have a long way to go – I suppose what I really wanted from the industry was to see more people getting great advice.
I’ve seen too many places provide scoped advice. I’d like to see more people being given holistic advice. Too many advisers look at super and investments but they don’t focus enough on basic cash flow.
I’d definitely like to see more women in financial planning. I’m tired of going to PD days where there are 90% men.
I’d also like to bring financial literacy into the school curriculum. The visibility of financial advisers is more prevalent when you’re in your 40s, young people don’t realise that there are such people to help them. If we can educate kids before people leave school that would be great. People know what an accountant does but they don’t know about financial advisers.
Have you seen yourself make a difference to clients?
I think we’re lucky in this industry as we see a lot – we see different people at different points in their lives and we see them reach goals they never thought they could. Recently I had clients in their late 40s who thought they would never have a house buy their own home. The real difference you see is that even after the first meeting a weight is lifted off their shoulders. They are now focused and know what they need to do.
I help people move into retirement which is a daunting, and emotional time for them. A lot of advisers don’t realise how difficult it is to move into retirement – often people’s identities are tied to their work. It’s a lifestyle change.
Cash flow is what I focus on for most people. If you can’t get that right then you can’t get anywhere. Isee people with incomes of $700,000 a year with no savings. It’s not about cutting out lifestyle – it’s more about balance.
What did the recognition in the AFA Rising Star awards mean to you?
It was a massive confirmation that the hard work and that the emotional ups and downs were worth it. It showed that I doing a great job and that there are lots of advisers that are just as passionate about their clients. I was pleasantly surprised at how rigorous the process was. Many awards are about revenue and not the quality of advice. It was great to see an award not based on KPIs but what your’e doing and ways we can improve the industry.
It was awesome networking and great to meet more experienced advisers and hear what they’re doing. Being recognised at the conference was one of the proudest moments for me. To know I’m doing the right thing for my clients. It’s an emotional job – you can have five ups and five downs every day.
What’s next for you?
Starting my own business – Pursue Wealth – which I’m starting organically. We’ll be concentrating on great advice to shape the business to how we like it – value and goals based advice. We will focus on cash flow as a major part of what we do. It’s what people see every day and what they see value in.
I’d also like to start a pilot programme in secondary schools on financial literacy – there are two schools we’ll be integrating into hopefully next year. I’m preparing four sessions per year on topics to fit into the school curriculum. We’re looking at next year’s curriculum now.
Do you see financial planning as a good career for females? Why?
I genuinely see financial advice as a great career for women. We’re naturally quite empathetic and we tend to be emotionally invested in what we do. We put our heart into everything and we love seeing the outcomes, it is also technically challenging enough to keep us on our toes with problem solving. You need to have a tough skin, it’s not for everyone but seeing how rewarding it is gives you a kick at the end of the day.
It helps to have mathematical skills.
Have you supported a woman in financial planning this year? Can you elaborate?
I’ve had a couple of new planners start in the practice where I was. We had weekly sessions in the practice and because people are not used to seeing young women in these roles we see a few raised eyebrows but when we can show ability and value it changes and I can help them with building their confidence. I also help with PD sessions with young females coming into the industry with what to expect, planning diaries and make sure they are not just seen as the receptionist through the way they hold themselves. I’ve also helped para-planners on how to move into planning.
DFP: Margin Lending and SMSF
Cert IV Business